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Schooling v. Education

Although the terms “schooling” and “education” seem synonymous, they are distinct from one another. Schooling denotes attending, or having attended, an institution that promotes “learning” of one kind or another. The subjects that are taught are forced upon the learner and are chosen by society’s perception of what is important. If one is “schooled,” one has gone through the motions of acquiring knowledge in a school setting, but has failed to take away anything of lasting value from the experience. Learners are passive during most of the schooling process, and are taught to consume information and then to regurgitate it in a rigid, formal manner.

On the other hand, education, in its purest form, encourages the learner to seek out knowledge, engage with it, question it, and, in the end, absorb all of its potency. The end goal of education is to have so thoroughly digested knowledge that it becomes an inseparable part of the learner. Furthermore, education allows the learner more freedom in choosing what to learn, making the learner more passionate and engaged. Finally, education seeks to give the learner invaluable tools and knowledge that can be used throughout life, as opposed to a one-time display of regurgitated facts that have no consequential meaning. If one is an educated person, one has knowledge and the tools to use that knowledge. But keep in mind that knowledge is not always from books, and that education does not necessarily come from a classroom or “schooling.”

If urban education is placed in the context of these two settings, it becomes a complex and interesting concept. It seems to me that urban students have a much lower tolerance for “schooling” because they see no real life application for it, and, unlike their suburban counterparts, will actively disengage themselves from the classroom setting. They crave the kind of education that is meaningful to them and that helps them to succeed in their world. Unfortunately, this can be a hindrance, since they do not allow themselves to be exposed to a variety of things that would open their eyes and broaden their horizons. Urban education, I have found, can be a catch 22 of sorts. As a teacher, I want to give urban students an education that they will own and appreciate. Unfortunately, society and the workforce look mainly at schooling.

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